Cyber Security Challenge goes face-to-face


The Cyber Security Challenge UK is heading towards its closing stages as the face-to-face competitions get underway this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, teams who have progressed through the preliminary stages will go head-to-head in the network security challenge.

Over the two days they will be tasked with maintaining and protecting a network as if they were operating in a real-world environment.

The contestants will also be thrown curve balls, with mini tasks handed to them, such as firewall configuration.

The challengers will have two hours to review the networks one designed to replicate a home network, another to look like a small to medium-sized business' (SMB) set up.

They will be monitored via webcam during the process and soft skills, such as planning and management, will also be assessed.

Judy Baker, the brains behind the Cyber Security Challenge, told delegates during a briefing that since the launch of the initiative last July it had made rapid progress.

"It's not just that we have a skills shortage now. Companies are telling us they'll be employing more people in this area in the future," Baker said.

"A lot of people out there have the talent but can't get to the employers."

Encouragingly, Baker revealed 65 per cent of entrants said they hoped to be introduced to employers. However, 67 per cent said they had little knowledge of what jobs were available in the security industry.

Breaking down the demographics, Baker unsurprisingly revealed the vast majority of entrants were males. Indeed, the largest group of applicants were males in their mid-twenties.

As for the future, when the Masterclass event the final stage of the competition is held in March, plans for the next Cyber Security Challenge will be laid out.

Baker said organisers had been exploring what other areas could have competitions designed for them, from cloud computing to applications security.

Additional sponsors could be added and Stewart Room, partner in Field Fisher Waterhouse's Privacy and Information Law Group who sits on the board of the challenge, said others should get on board as soon as possible.

"Some organisations should be ashamed of not taking part in the Cyber Security Challenger," Room added.

"They should be investing in this as soon as they can."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.